For vehicular fanatics, driving alone just isn’t enough. That’s where motor shows come in. They’re a chance for like-minded people from around the world to get together and share their common interest. They’re also a chance for those fanatics to gawp helplessly at amazing cars they’d never get to see anywhere else. Suffice it to say, the motor show is a crucial part of the average petrol head’s gasoline diet. So, here’s a look at some of the biggest, best, and most unique motor shows from across the globe.
Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile)
Started in 1898, this is the world’s oldest motor show. It is held biennially, usually in October, and is the most highly anticipated event in the European automotive community. Its recent exhibition drew a crowd of 1,263,467 enthusiasts: more than any other show on the planet.
The Modial de l’Automobile is host to countless world premiers, has lately enjoyed the addition of an electric vehicle testing track, and is the place to see the unveiling of the latest and greatest of the European automotive world. Admission is 13 Euro for adults and 7 Euro for children.
Chicago Auto Show
North America’s largest motor show is held annually in Chicago. It enjoys the distinction of having been held 111 times since its inception in 1901: more than any show in history. With a routine attendance of over a million patrons, it is a close rival to its Parisian counterpart in terms of size, prestige, and popularity. The venue sprawls across 1.2 million square feet of showroom space, and is home to an astounding diversity of vehicles.
But what is most unique about this show is the element of fun that pervades the place. Visitors can try their hand at test driving sport utility-vehicles through obstacle-course circuits, enter a raffle to win a sports car, rub elbows with celebrities, compete in free-throw contests, and even enjoy a concert from their favorite band––and all for the price of an $11 admission ticket.
The Geneva International Motor Show
The Geneva show may not be the biggest, oldest, or most popular motor show, but it is the most socially and environmentally progressive one. Its emphasis is on green technologies, sustainable fuel, and electric hybrid vehicles. Showcasing numerous concept cars and cutting-edge technologies, this exhibition seeks to both stimulate the imagination and inspire environmental conscientiousness.
For those interested in visiting: admission is about 11 GBP and the show is held each year in March.
The Tokyo Motor Show
The Tokyo Motor Show is a powerhouse of innovation and imaginative, often outlandish, concept vehicles. No other show in the world can boast as much cutting edge automotive technology, nor can any compete with the quantity of weird and whacky experimental designs on display here. Now in its 42nd year, Tokyo’s show has a typical attendance of about 800,000.
The NEC Classic Motor Show
For classic car enthusiasts, this UK exhibition is paradise. It is held in November, and costs 25 GBP for single day admission or 55 for a weekend pass. In addition to showcasing an impressive and enormous collection of classic vehicles, it is, more importantly, host to an unparalleled community of passionate collectors. With auctions and countless booths selling hard to find niche parts and car accessories, this show is unique in that it provides a space for a widely dispersed community of collectors of the rare and exotic to gather.
The Bug Jam
This UK based motor show specializes in all things VW. Now in its 26th year, it is a funky and fun festival where Volkswagen fanatics can enjoy three days of nothing but bugs and buses. With everything from drag racing, van races, four live music stages, car (bug) camping, and carnival rides, it is sure to provide fun for the whole VW-loving family. Tickets cost 80 GBP for the whole weekend, and the event is held in July.
No list of major motor shows would be complete without including a show that revolves around the biggest motors of all: monster trucks! Monster Jam, the world’s largest monster truck rally, tours throughout America’s Midwest and parts of southern Canada. If you want to see giant, big-wheeled, behemoth trucks crunching over rows of cars and jumping from enormous ramps while the roar of diesel engines and amped-up fans fills your ears, look no further than Monster Jam.
On the other hand, and at the other end of the adrenaline spectrum, is the motor show held in Dana Point, California each spring. It is a celebration of classic woodies: wood-paneled cars which were popular in California surfing communities of the 1930s and ’40s. This show rounds out our list for its sheer laid-back, sentimental charm, and for the stunning backdrop in which it is held: the beautiful Doheny State Beach. Admission to the show is free, but it costs 15 USD to enter the state beach area.
As every car owner knows, each vehicle is unique. Of course, the same holds true for motor shows: they come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own charm and individual appeal. This survey of some of the biggest and most unique hardly does justice to the countless number of distinct shows that are held around the world each year. But with a bit of searching, you just might be able to discover one that you find equally impressive in your own backyard.
This look at the world’s greatest motor shows was brought to you by the petrolheads at Vroomvroomvroom.co.uk, providing cheap car rental in Liverpool and around the UK.